If you've recently undergone a knee replacement, kidney transplant, or other major surgical procedure requiring home recuperation, you may be excited to finally be putting your walking aids and accessibility devices behind you for good. While this process can be great from the perspective of personal autonomy and independence, you may find yourself facing the disposal or recycling this used medical equipment purchased by you or your insurance company. What can -- and should -- you do with this used medical equipment? Read on to learn more about some of the options that can help you recoup some of your investment or pay your good fortune forward to someone in need.

Charitable donations

Many charities that deal with elderly or disabled populations have a great need for donations of gently used durable medical equipment (DME) like wheelchairs, crutches, or mobility devices. Others, like homeless shelters, will gladly accept gauze, or antiseptic cleaners. If you're donating your medical equipment or supplies to a 501(c)(3) charity or other tax-exempt organization, you'll likely be able to deduct the monetary value of this donation on your federal income taxes. This can help you capture back some of the medical expenses you've incurred while ensuring your equipment goes to where it's needed the most.

Consignment shops

While you may associate consignment shops with the sale of gently-used name brand clothing, many of these shops also deal in medical equipment or supplies. If you don't itemize your taxes to take advantage of the charitable deduction you'll get by donating this medical equipment, you may be able to get an even greater return on your money by selling this equipment to a nearby consignment shop or even renting a booth at a larger flea market setup. While it's unlikely you'll be able to recoup your entire initial investment in this equipment, you should be able to sell it for enough to defray at least some of your larger costs. 

Look into international aid

In some cases, you may not be able to find a domestic charity that resonates with your own charitable philosophy and goals. This doesn't mean you're limited to giving away or selling your medical equipment -- you may be able to donate to an international charity that can use your donation to help those in developing nations who don't have access to the mobility aids available at nearly any corner drugstore in the U.S.